Chocolate raspberry layer cake

Today, let's step into the world of sweets in a more serious way.  I know no better way to do that than with chocolate cake.  I may have been a purist in the past; by that, I mean I never wanted to mix my chocolate desserts with fruit.  But lately, I'd been craving the combination of chocolate and raspberries.  This chocolate raspberry layer cake was my way of fixing that craving.
This 6-inch cake is a pretty straightforward one.  There are two layers of moist chocolate cake (that's prepared without even using the mixer), joined together with seedless raspberry jam and dark chocolate ganache.  I simplified the recipe I worked off of and the cake came together as I ran errands and went about my day.  
Dark chocolate ganache, seedless raspberry jam and fresh raspberries for the cake
The whole cake is lovingly covered with chocolate ganache and simply garnished with a handful of fresh raspberries on top.  This cake definitely satisfied my chocolate-raspberry craving (and we know that cravings must be addressed eventually).  It's not complicated at all but I have to say that I'm always a little amazed when a cake comes together and that I made it from scratch, as simple as it might be.
There's seedless raspberry jam with ganache in the center and top layer of the cake
And a cake is just what I wanted to post here today because it's the 3rd anniversary of this little bumbling blog!  It's funny because for the first blog anniversary, I made a chocolate-hazelnut cake; the next year, it was another chocolate-hazelnut concoction - and both involved meringue!  Noticing the pattern after the fact, I decided to take a break from hazelnuts this year.  But, of course...it still had to be chocolate!

I almost can't believe I'm still chugging along after three years.  I have a lot of fun making the food and treats, then putting these posts together to share and stow away here.  It still feels like a little food diary of sorts but the chance to interact a little, and to learn from others who love food as much as I do, has been a huge perk.  This little blog continues to motivate me to try new things in the kitchen and I love all the learning that naturally happens. 
Thank you for spending a few minutes here sometimes.  I wish I could sit down and eat a slice of cake with many of you.


I used this recipe from epicurious.com as the basis for this cake but I made a number of changes. First, I made a smaller 6-inch, instead of 9-inch, round cake.  Moderation, right?  I also tweaked down the amount of ganache for the cake but used a little bit more raspberry jam.  Depending on how generous you are with frosting this cake, you might still have some extra ganache on your hands. You could use it to pipe a garnish around the cake or you could save it for another use altogether.  I saved mine for chocolate fondue!  My family and I had recently gone to the chocolate restaurant, Max Brenner.  We had chocolate fondue there (among other decadent treats) and bought one of the small fondue pots so my extra ganache was used for our first at-home-fondue.

Back to the recipe...I also simplified the steps.  For instance, instead of adding jam on top of the first cake layer and then topping it with ganache, I did the reverse.  It's a lot easier to spread the looser jam on top of the ganache than the other way around.  And I found that by making a little border with the ganache at the edge, you could keep the jam a bit more contained.  It's tempting to load up on the raspberry jam to get more flavor but it can get messy when sliced so a little restraint is called for. 
I added jam on top of the first layer of ganache; it's easier to spread that way
Another layer of raspberry jam goes on top of the second layer of cake.  You'll obviously have to apply the jam first this time before the ganache goes over the whole cake.  I spread jam over the top, then placed dollops of ganache on top of the jam.  I gently spread the ganache around with the back of a spoon to cover the jam and keep it contained.  After that, use an offset spatula to finish and smooth out the whole thing.
I simply frosted the entire cake with thickened chocolate ganache (instead of doing a 2-step process involving a crumb coat)
And instead of following the rather complicated steps of chilling some of the ganache and leaving the rest loose enough to pour over the cake, and doing a two-step process of freezing a crumb coat and then pouring a second final layer of ganache over the cake (with the goal of getting a more professional finish on the final result), I kept things a lot simpler by just letting the ganache sit until thickened enough to spread all at once.  

The overall finish might be rustic but I'm happy with that kind of a look. 
To finish, add some fresh raspberries on top of the cake.  With the raspberries on top as a visual, we really know what we're dealing with now!
And inevitably, some powdered sugar gets dusted on top.  The cake is all done and ready to be tucked into the fridge until dessert time.  It was easy and fun to make and very good to eat.  It's not too sweet.  The chocolate cake layers are really moist, the ganache is full of beautiful dark chocolate flavor, and the raspberry jam adds both sweetness and tartness.

I think it made a nice little anniversary cake.


Recipe:

Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake
Adapted from epicurious.com*

* The original recipe makes a two-layer 9-inch round cake.  I've also made several other changes to simplify the process so please refer to the original if you'd like to compare or do differently.

- A two-layer 6-inch round cake - 

For cake layers:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder  
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water (you could use coffee)
6 tablespoons buttermilk
6 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 large eggs (I lightly whisk an egg in a small bowl and pour out half)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For chocolate ganache and raspberry filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (61% cacao or less), finely chopped
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam, stirred to loosen, divided
1 6-ounce container fresh raspberries (organic, if possible)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

For cake layers:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease (or use baking spray) two 6-inch round cake pans, with 2-inch high sides.  Line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds and lightly grease the paper.  

Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk to combine and make a well in the center.  Whisk water, buttermilk, oil, and eggs together in a measuring cup or bowl to combine.  Pour wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk gently together until just incorporated.  Divide batter evenly among the two cake pans.  

Bake until toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, roughly 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on a cooling rack.

For ganache and raspberry topping:
Place chocolate and espresso powder (if using) in a heatproof bowl.  Heat cream and corn syrup together until it just comes to a boil.  Pour cream over the chocolate and let stand 1 minute.  Then begin whisking gently, starting in the center then outward, until incorporated.  Let mixture sit, stirring occasionally, until ganache thickens enough to spread.

Remove cooled cakes from the pans.  Set one cake layer (I laid it bottom-side up), on a serving plate or pedestal with pieces of parchment paper tucked under it for easy clean-up.  Spread a layer of ganache over the cake with an offset spatula.  Spread 2 tablespoons of the raspberry jam over the ganache.  Place second cake layer on top (I set it right-side up).  Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of jam over the cake.  Place large dollops of ganache around on top and spread it carefully with the back of a spoon.  Once the jam is covered with ganache, use an offset spatula to smooth over the top and cover the sides of the cake with more ganache.  You may have some ganache leftover; you could use it to pipe some design around the cake or save it for another use.

Place fresh raspberries in concentric circles on top of the cake.  Dust with a bit of powdered sugar.

Store cake in the refrigerator but bring to room temperature before serving.  







72 comments:

  1. This cake is GORGEOUS!! i really love raspberries paired with chocolate, so this sounds perfect to me. Happy blog birthday! Also, that cake stand. Need.

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    1. Oh, thank you, Joanne! It's the raspberries. : ) I'm pretty sure I bought that cake stand at sur la table a while ago. It was a Valentine's Day thing - the pattern is actually filled with hearts. I'm glad I bought it since I am all about chocolate desserts and the red is great with dark chocolate treats.

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  2. Oh men, this one does call for a celebration! Love that ganche, raspberries, cake and...the cake stand! Happy Blogging for many years to come! : :) ela@GrayApron

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  3. Happy blogiversary Monica! And wow! This cake is so beautiful, sounds ultra delicious and the photos are great too. Pinned :-)

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    1. Thank you, Aimee. Thanks for pinning.

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  4. Happy blog anniversary!! And what a way to celebrate - this cake is a looker! lol I love the chocolate raspberry combo so this sounds so so delicious! I especially like that there is jam in here too! I love that overhead shot with the one piece cut out - making me want to lick my screen : )

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    1. Awww...thanks so much, Ashley! I am not good with photography so everything is a bit off center and messy usually. I appreciate all your sweet comments! : )

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  5. Happy Blog Birthday to you! and what a beautiful cake to celebrate with. Chocolate and raspberries are a match made in heaven

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    1. Thanks you and thanks for stopping by, Cheri!

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  6. O my...this is one gorgeous chocolate cake, Monica. Perfect for the celebration. Love the raspberry chocolate ganache filling.
    Happy Blog Anniversary!
    Angie

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    1. Appreciate it, Angie. I do love a cake. : )

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  7. What a divine cake to celebrate your Blog Anniversary!! You cannot go wrong with a chocolate and raspberry combination in my mind!! I have so enjoyed reading and learning from your blog over the past months. Indeed, it would be marvellous if we could all share a slice if cake one day!! Happy Anniversary Monica and here is to the next three years!! :-)

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    1. Thank you so much, Jo! I can't imagine you learning anything from me but I hope it's a little entertaining. : ) I think we all learn so much from trying out new recipes...it's been a great experience. I am always inspired by other bloggers like you. Thank you for all your lovely comments.

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  8. Wow!! Happy third anniversary, Monica! I've enjoyed following your blog and best wishes for many more exciting years of blogging to come! The cake looks gorgeous, and I'm glad you decided to give the chocolate and fruit combo a try. Love it (:

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    1. Hi Monica - I appreciate you coming by sometimes even with your crazy school schedule and life in general! I'm glad my palate has opened up...another perk of this 'blogging' thing. : )

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  9. My goodness! My mouth is watering just looking at these pictures! I love chocolate and fruit together. Happy 3rd Anniversary! You always post the most delicious looking treats :D

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    1. Thanks so much, Cindy! I appreciate it. : )

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  10. Happy blog anniversary! That's a great milestone to celebrate :-) - and I can think of no better way to do that than chocolate cake with raspberries. Sounds like the perfect combination to me! YUM!

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    1. I love any reason to celebrate! : ) Thank you, Kristi.

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  11. What a beautiful cake! Happy blogaversary!

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  12. Happy happy 3rd blog anniversary Monica! I'm so glad to have gotten to know you more through blogging - you are always so sweet and kind and I really love all your wonderful stories and recipes you share here with us and the time you take to share the details of what worked for you and what didn't. This cake is gorgeous - I love that you chose to simplify things here and pairing chocolate and raspberries is such a fantastic combination! What a perfect cake to celebrate this very special occasion and can't wait to follow along for many more years to come :) Cheers and have a great week my friend! xo

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    1. Kelly - I'm so glad to have gotten to know you a bit more, too. : ) You are surely one of the kindest souls around and it totally comes right out of you. Thank you for taking so much time to read my ramblings and to comment when you are so busy on your own end. I truly appreciate it and your sweet comments always make me smile. Thanks again. xo

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  13. I'd love to eat a slice of cake with you to celebrate your 3rd Blog Anniversary! That is awesome :)
    This cake looks amazing! So dense and rich. I've always been a chocolate purist too, but I'm getting better about letting a little fruit mix together with it.

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    1. Oh yes, what a great table we would make. There'd be cake, plenty of dirty dishes, non-stop chatter, and lots of laughs and food talk. Heaven!

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  14. My my, you are making me drool over this. Happy Blogiversary!

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  15. Chocolate raspberry cake is one of my very favorites - this one looks INCREDIBLE! The picture of the raspberry jam spread on top of the ganache is so glorious. Totally wishing I had a big 'ol slice of this cake right now!

    And a very happy blog-versary!

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    1. Thanks so much, Alyssa! I'm glad I'm in on the chocolate-raspberry combo now. : )

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  16. Congratulations on your blog anniversary Monica. This is such a beautiful and celebratory cake. You already know my love for chocolate and raspberries..so I could eat many more than one slice of cake. Wish you many more years of blogging filled with wonderful food and recipes

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    1. Thanks so much! I get just as excited at cake as you do. : )

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  17. Happy blog anniversary Monica!! I start my blog in April too! This cake is perfect for celebration!!

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    1. That's awesome. Your blog is far more professional and I look forward to being inspired and learning from you (and everyone else)!

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  18. The choco-holic in me is flipping out over this cake right now! It looks incredible, Monica!

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    1. Yay for us choco-holics! I am proud to be one!

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  19. Wow Monica - this cake is absolutely gorgeous. You are an artist and the photos are amazing. Just shared on Facebook! I would love to have a slice with you - what time is dessert?

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    1. ha - you are too kind, Tricia! Thanks for sharing. And I would surely love to have some cake with you...anytime!

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  20. Happy Blogiversary, Monica! My favorite combo is chocolate plus fruit. I think choco/orange is my favorite with choco/raspberry a very close second ;) This cake looks out of this world!!

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    1. Amy - chocolate & orange totally makes me swoon. I guess chocolate just goes so well with so many things and all by itself! I'm hooked for life. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you're feeling well and things are good!!

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  21. Happy Blog Anniversary Monica! And you sure know how to celebrate...this cake looks delicious and yes, chocolate and raspberry is a great together.
    Hope you are having a beautiful week :D

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    1. Thank you, Juliana. You have a great week!

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  22. I think this May end up as my Easter Simnel Cake. I want some now.

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  23. Yay for blogs! Blogging changed my life in the wonderfulest way, I hope you feel the same:) Also, CHOCOLATE YES YES YES YES pleae.

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    1. Hi Emma! Yes, blogging/writing these posts did turn out to be a good whim for me. It's a great outlet...I love just making something, not only the food but these posts and being able to come back and see it again. : ) And Chocolate - there's no better food!

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  24. What a BEAUTIFUL cake! Happy blog anniversary, Monica! I love, love, love your space here - always look forward to seeing your amazing posts!

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    1. Marie, you have inspired many of our dinners and I love learning from you. Thanks for stopping by and for all your supportive comments.

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  25. Happy blog anniversary! This chocolate layer cake is the perfect way to celebrate. I think it looks beautiful :)

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    1. Thanks, Bianca. You can't go wrong with chocolate, right?

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  26. I can NOT get over how good this cake looks... Like even the stand goes perfectly with it! And now I want to fill all my cakes with jam and top them with perfectly-placed berries. My frosting skills will never that good, though, unfortunately. Luckily the berries should help to cover that up...

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    1. I totally think it's that red cake stand making my cake look nicer than it really is. I have no frosting "skills" to speak of, clearly. I'm just glad we can call things "rustic" and it can be kind of sloppy but once we say "rustic", it's all good! ; )

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  27. Happy happy happy anniversary and wishing you many more to come! And years filled with succulent and decadent dishes such as this beauty :)

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    1. How sweet of you! Thank you, Gintare.

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  28. Happy 3rd Blogiversary! This cake looks so decadent and rich and just perfect to celebrate! Nice post and looking forward to many more. Take Care, BAM

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    1. Thank you, Bobbi...I appreciate that!

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  29. 1. Monica, after this post filled with gorgeous photos (of an equally gorgeous cake) you may no longer say you are "not good with photography"! Just look at those photos! I especially like the close-up of the slice of cake and the overhead shot of the cake with the slice removed. (And because everyone else commenting is saying the same thing, you are going to have to believe us!) 2. Wow, what a celebratory cake for an occasion well worth celebrating!! Happy 3rd blogiversary! Three years is a lot of baking, posting, and chocolate eating. :) 3. Thank you for all the work it takes to share these recipes! I always learn something from your posts. :)

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    1. Yes, ma'am! I know better than to argue with you, Wendy! I can imagine how your children feel. haha! Seriously - thank you so much! Thanks for stopping by and for all your kind words and encouragement. I've learned a lot from you and if you get anything from here, I am just thrilled!

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  30. Happy 3rd anniversary! May you have many many more and we get to enjoy them all! This cake is stunning! Love the raspberries and of course, the classic combo. Nothing better!

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    1. Thank you, Nazneen! You guys are such sweet ladies out there!

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  31. I'd like to think of chocolate and raspberries as 2 major food groups as I can't get enough of both of them! I'm anxiously awaiting when raspberries are cheap again because right now they are too expensive! I need this cake in my life!

    HAPPY 3rd HAPPY DAY!

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    1. Tell me about it, Pamela! The raspberries were really expensive - probably a good idea I had a small cake so didn't need too much. : ) Thanks!

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  32. Happy Blogiversary!!! What a beautiful cake to celebrate the occasion! Raspberry and chocolate make the best dessert combination. My husband loves raspberries. I am going to make this for our wedding anniversary. :)

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    1. Oh wow - that would be awesome. Hope you like it if you make it and happy upcoming wedding anniversary!!

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  33. Happy Blog Birthday hun!! This lovely cake looks like the perfect way to celebrate such a day! I adore teh flavor combo and that ganache layer sounds sinful!! xx

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    1. Thank you, Consuelo! You can count on me for somewhat sinful chocolate desserts. : )

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  34. Wow this looks gorgeous! Beautiful job! And it's a cake that doesn't require a mixer? Even better. I never think layer cakes are easy, I'll have to try this some day. And happy blogiversary! Congratulations on making it to 3 years, keep it up!

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    1. Thank you, Tiffany. The cake batter is just a simple mix - love that! It's really moist - you could probably coax more chocolate flavor by using coffee instead of water but the ganache totally takes care of the chocolate part.

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  35. Happy Blogiversary! This is a beautiful cake to celebrate.

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    1. Thanks, Alyssa...we're still plugging along, aren't we? : )

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  36. This cake is so gorgeous! What a drop-dead beautiful ganache. And happy happy blog anniversary to you, Monica! Here's to many more :)

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    1. Hi Cynthia! So sweet of you to hop over and comment. I really appreciate it. : ) Ganache makes me so very happy - glad you like it. Thanks again!

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